A purple ocean
When I was a kid, I would paint the ocean blue. Inevitably, always. My rudimentary drawings of the sunrise and the sunset had a dash of green for the mountains, orange and yellow for the sky colours but always just blue underneath. A big patchwork. It would be of no major significance then. It depicted the meaning that everyone understood, that it was a patch of water.
As I grew older, in school, I was taught that the ocean wasn’t actually blue but was reflecting the colour of the sky. I did not think more of it then. and a few classes later, in another subject, I would learn that the sky is not a finite object, it is just a vast opening and in reality, it is black because it does not reflect any light. Now there was a confusing theory. The ocean wasn’t blue but it was getting the colour from the sky which by itself was colourless. So in effect, my rudimentary painting was a complex painting of some deep level abstraction because the colours I used were not that easy to explain.
But today I sit by the edge of a cliff, a drop down, and into the beach towards the ocean. One of the most picturesque spots I have come across. And as I sit here looking out into the vast vast blue ocean, I notice that it isn’t blue today. It is not a single patch of blue in front of me but today it sparkles. It sparkles with the reflection of the bright sky and it sparkles because the waves are creating those small lumps capturing the shine off the sun. It feels like the dress from Frozen but more strongly, it felt like those satin sparkly dresses that I wanted to take and wrap around myself and flaunt around.
But as I drifted in this imaginary world with glass shoes and satin robes, I looked to the far left and saw that it had a different set of colours. It was now a pale green, that which is commonly known as sea green I believe. That was strange, the fabric just changed its colour. And so did my association with it. I did not want a sea-green cape to flaunt. But diminishing my presence, that stretch of sea green was so absolutely stunning. It amazingly complemented the bright thick green trees that protruded from the edge of the cliff to my left.
I smiled, for only nature could define its own colours, combination, and beauty this stunning.
Turning my gaze back to the centre part where the sun showed its skill by sparkling the water, I casually turned to my right to scan the rest of the vastness. I probably saw a sea green, you may expect. But that is where even I was surprised. Here I saw a pale blue patch. Like the one that I would draw in my kindergarten masterpieces. The light blue crayon had filled this part across my right till the end of the horizon. It seamlessly merged into the rest of the vast sky and I had to squint to see where the line was drawn. I found none.
From where I stood, I could now see three different colours, three different interpretations, and three different strokes of artistry. Much more if I were to go more detailed. But this triplet by itself was good enough to teach me something I needed to realise then.
In most cases, we are limited by our imagination, even when we let our imagination run wild. Contradictory, right? We have difficulties thinking out of the box, but even out of that box, fewer people would have built a larger box. There is only a handful who would have the courage and the boldness to go beyond all the boxes. If I had my teacher tell me, use my imagination and paint the ocean, would anything other than a sea green, sparkly blue, or a patchy blue have been accepted? Would my teacher have accepted a purple ocean without a reason?
Why is this? Why are we limited by what we know or rather why do we choose to be limited that what we know is only that which is there? Why are we so hung up upon what is right and what isn’t? What is that that must be the case and what cannot? Why these rules and even more why choose to be bound by them? A lot of us don’t move out of the first box. Society will not accept us and we have to live by the rules to fit in, we decide. I have a differing thought to that but that is left for a different discussion. And some folks call out that we do not care what society tells, I will do as I please. Yet we don’t dare to move beyond the second box, the one that is limited by our mind? But there are a good few, as every era has seen. These good few who go beyond the second box to draw probably a corner less edge for themselves, maybe an edgeless one, and they are usually categorised as crazy or madmen.
The ones who do find the courage to step out of the first box, do so but with a fear of being outcast. I will go beyond the usual but I will keep my feet there just in case I am not set aside as a mad person. I will continue to show my sanity but I will continue to explore and test the boundaries from this side of the line. Just manipulations or rewording of the same thing?
But when you sit down by the ocean and think about it, you realise that it is ok. It is ok to just want to step out of the first box and within the boundaries of the second. It does take courage and a lot of imagination to paint the ocean a sea-green or a sparkly blue than a patchy one.
Perhaps if I do keep at it, someday I will have the courage and the drive to make a purple ocean.
Inspired by Paulo Coehlo — Veronika decides to die.